We came across a really interesting instructional package a while back, an instructional completely based on an oral method of learning the instrument. This also applies a lot of emphasis on learning by ear and differentiating between the various tones of the kit. We spoke with the author of this Instructional Ludovic Defacques a while back. Here’s what the drummer from France had to say to Indian Drummer-
Ludovic - Right now I’m in great shape.
ID – You’ve written a book called The Voice of Drumming which is an oral based look at drumming. It seems very interesting and I’ve heard only good things about it. When did you first feel the need to take this up?
Ludovic - This is by taking courses in Tabla, I started trying things with my students and then the idea of the method came quickly.
ID – Can you tell a bit more about the content it deals with?
Ludovic - The idea is simple. Why and how to learn the language of drumming with singing. Even writing is based on a language to hear … Orality is, listen to hear.
1. I LISTEN
2. I SING
3. I PLAY
4. I READ
The content is accessible enough for beginners, while all the fields are processed. At each end of this topic there are slightly more complex examples. After having sung all the years of my method, you will have acquired the instrumental language and the possibilities you have to sing all or almost what you would like to play. At the end there has unifying comment. This book will interest to other musicians who play with drummers.
ID – While you’re writing drum parts, do you always look at it from an oral perspective?
Ludovic - Yes, because even once written, it has to sing.
ID - What do you think the benefits are when a drummer takes up this oral method and applies it to his playing?
ID – For how long have you been playing the drums now?
Ludovic - I started 25 years ago.
ID – Tell us a bit about the bands/artists you’re working with now and worked with in the past.
Ludovic- I played a lot to make people dance and for performances and yet I am especially interested in jazz. Miles Davis and Roy Haynes are my favorite. Right now I play flute.
ID – Now getting to the topic of rudiments, does the vocal approach work while learning the rudiments as well?
Ludovic - The rudiments are interesting to practice to improve the mechanical, but also to improve the hearing, like fingering must to be heard in all possibilities.
ID – How essential do you think learning the rudiments are?
Ludovic – Rudiments, is the alphabet.
ID - What’s your drum setup at the moment?
Ludovic – I play on the drums of the school where I teach, I work primarily to get out something from me.
ID – Another question I wanted to ask you is about applying the vocal method when learning rhythm patterns using traditional and ethnic instruments. Does it get tougher when you apply this to such instruments?
Ludovic – The problem of using the singing to learn drumming, unlike the tabla, it is the combined sounds.
ID – Drumming and music aside, what are the other activities that keep you busy?
Ludovic - Right now I’m doing the job of editor. I started, so I lost time but I learned.
ID – Have you tried your hands at any Indian Percussion instruments?
Ludovic - Yes, but I had to stop after having had the idea of the method.
It was really very difficult; I kept a kanjira at home I do not despair to play with.
Ludovic – The main challenge is to play with other musicians who have a pejorative view of the drums. They do not understand what Miles Davis was waiting for a drummer, “i can take every body in my band… on drum, the devil only” he said. Others take us for a rhythm box.
ID – What does the rest of the year hold for you?
Ludovic – Right now I am very interested in philosophy, especially Nietzsche. It’s going more and more I realize that we in the West believe to be superior thanks to our writing so that what counts is the discourse, because the value of a man is not judged on writings but on his word. I think you made the right place of written in your music, or we fixed because we fear death. So I think my look on orality will grow.
ID – This is your space – feel free to convey a message to your friends, fans & family.
Ludovic – I wish my family and have all the world turn its business as it sees fit. The year 2012 will probably be the year of any changes
Thank you Ludovic for doing this interview. Indian Drummer wishes you the very best. We hope to see you on this side of the world soon.